Should really have posted the day I got back so inspired was I, but life got the better of me and here I am 6 days later putting finger to keyboard ( pen to paper sounds so much nicer!).
Organised by an SGD member in Bishops Stortford some 50+ designers arrived at Writtle enthused about the lecture from Dr Noel Kingsbury.
Not quite sure what to expect I was surprised by how youthful he seemed - I am becoming increasingly ageist it would seem! His credentials seem to stretch forever and his comment that he began a nursery at the same time as Carol Klein started her Devon nursery, made me do a double take.
A fascinating and thought provoking lecture ensued as he covered succession, right plant right place and how to actually do that well. Asking us to consider the effects on maintenance (reduction!) and longevity (much longer) of our designed gardens should we take this approach.
As I am sure you know by now I am more plants than design (sorry Duncan!) and as the day went on I began to realise that a passion for plants can really enable a vision for design or maybe that should be a creative expression. Really understanding my media (the plants) and what makes them work well is going to unlock a whole world of possibilities. Because lets face it whilst many new varieties pop up at our yearly RHS shows, in the main, new genus and species do not get discovered every day and even if they did, the time to the typical gardening market is S L O W W W W.
We spent the morning in a darkened lecture theatre where I learnt that Dr K could do with some help on his powerpoint presentations though obviously not the content therein. In the afternoon we wandered through the rather fabulous gardens of the college, putting what we had learned in the morning into practice and trying, in our smaller groups, to identify the various types of plant matter and it's growing patterns.
Obviously the opportunity to ask as many questions as you like to someone as knowledgeable as Dr K was brilliant and I felt that spark of excitement when you know you've met a kindred spirit, an inspiring and gifted teacher and consequently someone you can learn a LOT from.
I now have all his books (slowing working my way through them!) and will be keeping an eagle eye out for further opportunities to take courses with him.